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 Syria Calls for Urgent Summit After Arab League Sanctions

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PostSubyek: Syria Calls for Urgent Summit After Arab League Sanctions   Sun Nov 13, 2011 11:25 pm

Syria has called for an emergency Arab League summit a day after the organization suspended the country as President Bashar al-Assad’s government pressed on with a crackdown against protesters.

The meeting would “address the Syrian crisis,” the official Syrian Arab News Agency reported today, citing an unidentified government official. Syria would welcome a visit by an Arab League delegation including civilian and military monitors before the organization’s suspension takes effect on Nov. 16, the news service said.

Syria has continued with its crackdown on protesters even after the government on Nov. 2 agreed to an Arab League plan for ending the violence. Security forces killed 17 people today, Al- Arabiya television reported, citing activists. U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said on Nov. 7 that Syrian forces had killed 71 civilians in the previous three days.

“Assad will try and blur the issue by calling for a summit,” said Andrew Tabler, a Syria analyst at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, in an e-mailed response to questions. “He will invite in monitors and deploy more of the army and security services to scare people to stay home so it seems he has the issue under control.”
Syrians Rally

Anti-regime protests erupted in Syria in mid-March, inspired by uprisings that toppled the leaders of Tunisia and Egypt and led to the death last month of Libya’s long-time ruler, Muammar Qaddafi. More than 3,500 protesters have been killed in Syria, the United Nations said Nov. 8.

Assad has blamed the fighting on Islamic militants and foreign provocateurs. Thousands of Syrians rallied today in different cities to condemn the Arab League’s decision, SANA reported.

The Arab League, meeting yesterday, said that Syria will be barred from the group’s meetings until it withdraws tanks from its cities, releases detained protesters and starts supervised talks with the opposition, the group said in a statement. Syria is the second Arab nation this year to be suspended from the regional bloc after Libya.

U.S. President Barack Obama in a statement said the Arab League’s action shows “the increasing diplomatic isolation of a regime that has systematically violated human rights.”
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